Holiday Wish List: 7 Best Travel Backpacking Gear Gifts

Backpacking & Trekking, Extras, Packing & Wardrobe, Shopping & Style — By on December 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm

By Patty Hodapp

Deputy Editor

Take good notes ladies because it’s December and Santa’s sleigh has your name on its destination ticket 20 days from now. That’s less than three weeks to drop holiday wish list hints to boyfriends, husbands, parents and Santa himself. Chances are you’ve been a good girl this year, so jot down our favorite travel items of 2010 and hint, hint, hint away.

And, in the spirit of giving this holiday season, don’t leave gift buying to the last minute. Just because Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over doesn’t mean the shopping season is over. Far from it, in fact. Need gift ideas for sisters, mothers and other traveler girlfriends? Take advantage of killer holiday sales and stock up on our favorite products. We know buying quality travel gear is an important investment so these gifts are LG certified, practical for the road, quality and travel-tested by us.

1. Sarek Softshell Travel Hoody

Say goodbye to bulkiness with the Sarek Softshell Travel Hoody. This lightweight, super warm, fitted garment is a cross between a sweatshirt, a polar fleece and a jacket. It feels as light as a feather but it’s as warm as a wool sweater making this the traveler’s dream piece of gear. Banish bulky outerwear in your backpack or suitcase for this cute, lined hoody. The two best features of this hoody are the fit of hood itself and the wind-resistant construction of the body. There’s nothing worse than a hood that’s too small or a hood that sits awkwardly on your head. The Sarek hood fully covers the hairline and falls halfway down your forehead–with two drawstrings you can pull it tight to shield your face from wind. The body of the hoody is wind-resistant and the fitted structure keeps the breeze out and the warmth in. The hoody is the ideal layering piece under a vest, a heavier coat, and it can also stand alone as a light jacket.$125.00.

2. TraveLite Convertible Carry On

Airline baggage fees make checking a suitcase a pain in the butt. But hauling a carry-on through the airport wasn’t much better, until we tried the TraveLite Convertible Carry On. This bag is two in one. It can be a backpack or a duffel depending on where you’re going and how you’re getting there.  The zippered shoulder strap quickly converts to backpack mode so switching is hassle-free. The Carry On has a squishy gel shoulder strap so it’s comfortable for your shoulder. It meets carry-on standards for both US and International flights. There’s a handy secure body-side zip-pocket for your boarding pass or other valuables. It fits neatly into the overhead bins and at just 2lbs 1 oz it’s 1/3 lighter than most convertible carry-ons. Its zippered system keeps your clothes neatly packed and organized, moving you through airport security lines. With the Carry On, you can travel light and save lots of money on unnecessary baggage fees. $125.00.

3. TuGo Luggage Drink Holder

You only have two hands, and when you’re traveling you need both of them. Juggling a cup of Starbucks, your phone, your boarding pass and your passport, in addition to rolling a bag just makes it more likely you’ll scald yourself. TuGo Luggage Drink Holder is a nifty gadget and the perfect stocking stuffer. It suspends your coffee or water bottle between the prongs of your roller suitcase so you can take your drink with you wherever you go. It’s made specifically for your rolling luggage and its rubbery plastic holds a small or medium cup size comfortably. It slips on and locks tightly, but it’s easy to remove for storage as soon as you’ve finished your drink. $9.95.

4. Wind River Softshell Jacket

The Wind River Softshell jacket is sporty, stylish and best of all: easy to wash. It’s the perfect gift for winter athletes who get out in the back-country–and it’s absolutely meant to be used. Added reinforcement in high abrasion areas protect the jacket from wear and tear. It is highly breathable, water resistant, wind resistant, and the spandex/nylon fabric allows for a superior range of motion. Velcro wrist cuffs keep drafts from traveling up your arms. The jacket weighs only 1lb 3oz and it’s tailored to fit along your body without being too tight. The side pocket is large enough to fit a phone and an iPod, and the side arm pocket is a perfect storage place for a key on a winter run or ski. It’s ideal for deep-woods cross country ski trips, winter runs, or when a down parka is too heavy. $175.00.

5. GU Chomps Energy Chews

It’s important to keep your energy up on the road. Whether you’re trekking through airports or hiking across Europe, these tasty GU Chomps deliver important nutrients to keep you healthy and satisfied. Just one packet fuels 1.5 to 2 hours of activity and it delivers amino acids, vitamin C and E (antioxidants that combat tissue breakdown) and sodium and potassium to restore electrolyte balance. One packet has two servings at just 90 calories each and the Chomps come in five delicious flavors: Blueberry Pomegranate, Orange, Strawberry, Cranberry Apple, and Watermelon. If you like gummy worms and gummy bears you’ll love Chomps. These high energy snacks are caffeine free so you’re getting pure, good-quality energy instead of jitters from other (unhealthier) energy products. While they’re not a meal-substitute, Chomps are filling and packable–a yummy, on-the-go snack.  $35.20 (per box).

6. Cady Synthetic Insulated Vest

The Cady Synthetic Insulated Vest is one of our all time favorites. It feels almost paper thin to the touch and it’s not overly stuffed with insulation so you won’t feel like a marshmallow wearing it. But it’s toasty warm. The vest is ideal for travel when a warm core counts and freedom of movement is essential. It zips all the way up, the fleece-lined side pockets are perfect places to tuck cold hands, it has a special pocket with cord routing ideal for an iPod or MP3 player, and it comes in a GoLite stuff sack–like a mini sleeping bag. Its breathable temperature regulating fabric works with your body to maintain a comfortable balance. It only weighs 9 oz. and comes in four colors: bright blue, black, chili pepper and granite. Paired with a white knit hat it’s perfect for a brisk fall hike. $120.00.

7. Ryders Eyewear Grindhouse Sunglasses

These sunglasses are sweet. Period. In rasta colors–red, green and yellow– Ryders Grindhouse sunglasses are the epitome of personality with a purpose. They look cool, they feel good and they’re the ultimate sports eyewear. They look like a smaller Ray Ban Wayfarer with a tighter, sporty fit to the face. Anti-slip nose pads keep the sunglasses on your nose while you’re biking, cross country skiing, walking or driving. The anti-glare lens are scratch resistant and the sunglasses come with a soft cloth case to protect them in your purse. $39.99.

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